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White House Coronavirus Tests Faulty?; Projected U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Rising. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired May 13, 2020 - 16:00   ET



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we're told, are the people all around him.

He's also not working out of his, you know, normal Kremlin. He's working out of his home office, usually by videoconference, although he is having some face-to-face meetings, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: All right, Matthew, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Thank you so much for joining us, I'm Kate Bolduan.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And this afternoon, a top expert at the World Health Organization said this coronavirus may never go away, that it might simply join the various viruses that kill people every year, and we all must remain on alert and stay the course.

Plus,a dire economic warning coming from the Federal Reserve chairman today, calling the pandemic the -- quote -- "biggest shock our economy has felt in modern times" -- unquote, predicting a multiyear recession, if there's not more help from Congress and the White House, this as food prices are surging and schools are debating whether to open in the fall.

Now the leading model from the University of Washington has once again raised its projections by 10,000 projected deaths to 147,000 people in this country dying from coronavirus. And that's just by August 4.

In part, the modelers have upped the death toll, projected death toll, because of relaxing social distancing measures happening all over the country.

As CNN's Erica Hill reports now, while the number of new cases is thankfully trending down overall nationwide, mayors of major cities, including Washington, D.C., are concerned about a surge in new infections and have, in fact, extended stay-at-home orders. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shopping, restaurants, beach, signs of pre-COVID life returning, as experts warn the virus itself may be here to stay.

DR. MICHAEL J. RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities. And this virus may never go away.

HILL: This picturesque college campus will be quiet in September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the right call.

HILL: California State University system sticking with distance learning this fall, impacting nearly half-a-million students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found that, in order to maintain social distancing guidelines, we would have to reduce the capacity of our classrooms to 25 percent of their normal levels.

HILL: For school-aged children, the answer on when and how they will return to the classroom isn't yet clear.

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Probably smaller classrooms, more distancing, teacher probably wearing a mask.

LILY GARCIA, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: I had 39 kids in my classroom one year. How are you going to socially distance 39 kids?

HILL: The CDC, meantime, preparing to alert doctors to a new inflammatory illness in children possibly linked to COVID-19, which can present weeks after the virus.

DR. ESTHER CHOO, FOUNDER, EQUITY QUOTIENT: We just have to remember we have more to learn about the virus than we have yet learned.

HILL: New York state is now investigating more than 100 cases in school-aged children. New coronavirus cases in Georgia and South Carolina, two of the first states to reopen, mostly flat over the past week, while South Dakota is posting some of the highest spikes, along with Arkansas and Delaware.

New Orleans, once a major hot spot, allowing some businesses to return this weekend, restaurants told to keep customers' contact information for 21 days to aid with potential contact tracing, as the push for a measured approach continues.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Opening up prematurely just sets us up for a big outbreaks, which will force us to shut down again.

HILL: Washington, D.C., today extending it stay-at-home order until June 8. Colorado's tourism office asking out-of-state visitors to stay home. Arizona and Florida announcing professional sports can return to their states, while new CNN polling shows Americans are split on whether players should suit up.

As for fans, new information about how cheering could increase the spread of COVID-19.

ERIN BROMAGE, UNIVERSITY OF DARTMOUTH: If you're yelling and screaming and supporting your team, those people in, I guess, the spray zone of your voice, you're putting them in danger.

HILL: Outside Saint Louis, an experiment in socially distant baseball.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it definitely doesn't feel normal.

HILL: Disinfectant in the dugout, distant umpires and fans. Weird, but worth it.


HILL: Jake, we're also getting some new information today about this rapid test that the White House has touted, this Abbott test which will give results in about 15 minutes.

Researchers at NYU's Langone School of Medicine say that they found that those tests are often missing some positive results. Now, I do want to point out that this research has not been reviewed by outside scientists or published in the medical journey. Abbott -- journal, rather.

Abbott, for its part, says it is reviewing those results from the researchers at NYU. I should note the research did find, though, that, in terms of the negative test, it had a much better success rate. That was about 90.5 percent for that test, Jake.


TAPPER: All right, Erica Hill, thank you so much.

Joining me now is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, what's your read on this new research on these Abbott rapid tests which the White House has been using? And these tests apparently are missing some cases, some positives.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, this latest research, which is not peer-reviewed -- Abbott's got to look at this research still, they say.

But 48 percent of cases were missed, 48 percent false negative. So, that means, out of 100 people, 48 of them were told they don't have the virus, when, in fact, they did. That would be obviously significant.

Jake, we have been doing a lot of reporting on this. Previous studies showed 15 percent false negative. Another study showed 25 percent false negative. When we reached out to Abbott about this before, they said there was a problem with one of the mediums used to transport the swabs.

Now they're saying, look, maybe the test wasn't being done correctly at NYU, where the study was performed. We will have to check into this. But that that's obviously a huge consideration.

As we talk about the number of tests, we have to constantly be asking not only the number, but how accurate are they? How quickly can people get results as well? Those things make a huge difference.

This one's quick. But if it's not accurate, that's not going to be helpful.

TAPPER: And, Sanjay, President Trump has been saying that this virus is just going to eventually disappear.

But the World Health Organization said today that this virus might become endemic, essentially never going away, just having different outbreaks.

How likely do you think it is that it becomes endemic? And if that happens, if we don't have a vaccine, what do we do?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, it's interesting.

You look at a virus like HIV, which is a very different virus, obviously, and, after decades, we still don't have a vaccine, and it's essentially become endemic. You look at other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, and they sort of did wither away with time. And we're not exactly sure why that happened.

There is the possibility that we get herd immunity, so the virus is still out there, but we essentially are inoculated against it. I did some calculations, Jake, on that. If a million people a week became infected in the United States, it would take about four years to establish herd immunity. So that takes a long time.

And then, obviously, the vaccine would make a difference. So we don't know. I mean, it could become like flu, where it becomes migratory and seasonal as well. We're just not sure with this virus. It's not behaving in conventional ways. But I don't know that we know enough yet to say whether it would become endemic or not.

TAPPER: And because there's so little testing compared to the size of the population, and so little antibody testing, we have no idea of how widespread it is.

GUPTA: That's right.

TAPPER: Sanjay, the CDC is expected to put out an alert about the potential impact of COVID-19 on children with what appears to be a rare inflammatory condition.

We have been discussing this for several weeks now. The governor of New York said they have more than 100 cases in that state. Do you think that this will become more widespread?

GUPTA: You know, I don't think so, Jake.

We have been digging into this for some time. There was an alert that went out in the U.K. a couple weeks ago telling hospitals to be on alert -- alert for this. Now we're getting a similar sort of alert here in the United States.

I started talking to my sources in Asia soon after that U.K. alert came out. Interestingly, they didn't see a lot of cases of this Kawasaki-like syndrome. They're calling it PIMS now, Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome.

They weren't seeing it over there. So, why are we seeing it in the U.K. and the United States? Is it that there's some genetic predisposition? Why are we seeing it four to five months now after patients were identified here in the United States?

I think we don't know the answers to that. But I think it does suggest that maybe this isn't going to be that widespread. Doctors certainly are on the lookout for it now. But there's a lot of things that can be confused with it, fever, rash, things like that, that parents should be on the lookout for.

But, so far, thankfully, it does not appear to be that widespread.

TAPPER: What we hear from doctors about so many other unusual symptoms that affect not just the lungs -- obviously, we have heard all about the respiratory problems -- but problems with heart, with blood flow, with toes, problems with the brain, problems with kidneys.

GUPTA: Right.

TAPPER: This originally was viewed as a respiratory disease. It's obviously much worse than that.

GUPTA: Yes, it's interesting.

Just today, I was having a conversation with a microbiologist about this. The way that this virus seems to enter the body, the types of cells that it binds to when it comes into the body, are certain types of cells that are present in areas besides the lungs.

They're present on blood vessels. They're present around the heart. Is this virus somehow getting in the blood, because the blood obviously a common denominator between all these places? But it's still hard to explain why people would have isolated loss of smell.


That's it. They get loss of smell. That's the only symptom they ever have. Or chilblains, as you were talking about, these lesions on the feet and the toes. Why is that? Blood clots.

The blood itself may be the common denominator here. And I think that's where a lot of investigators are starting to look. It still seems to be a respiratory virus in terms of how its transmitted person to person, off of surfaces, as we know, touching a surface and then touching your own face.

But after it gets into the body, it does seem to behave differently for coronaviruses. It's different than SARS and MERS. And the blood may be the common denominator. But, again, researchers don't know for sure.

The potential treatments, the antivirals, trying to stop replication and stopping the virus from entering the cells could still be the same sorts of treatments if we can develop those.

TAPPER: And, Sanjay, nine states are currently trending up in terms of coronavirus cases, 19 states are holding steady, 22 are trending down, as you see in the map that we're showing right now.

The updated model from the University of Washington now projects 147,000 people in the U.S. will lose their lives to coronavirus by August 4. That's stunning.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, it really is, and potentially 100,000 people by the end of this month, Jake, by Memorial Day.

So it's clearly related to increased mobility and the projected increased mobility of people, as these states start to reopen. I mean, there's no -- there's no secret here. There's no -- there's no magic here. The virus is still out there. It's very contagious.

The good news, Jake, as we have talked about all along, is that still the majority of people who become infected are still not likely to get that ill. The problem is, as we have learned over and over again, is, we don't know for certain who's likely to become ill. And you can still be someone who spreads the disease.

So I know that people talk about risk, and I'm willing to take the risk. But this is not the same sort of risk as other things. You're not only risking your own health. You're risking the health of those around you.

TAPPER: All right, Sanjay, thank you so much.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow night for a CNN town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." It's hosted by Sanjay and Anderson Cooper. That's tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

Coming up next: Will kids go back to school in the fall? What about college kids? We will talk to the head of a major university system, as another one cancels in-person classes through the fall.

Plus, taking one for the team, that's what one volunteer is calling it, signing up to be purposely infected with the novel coronavirus, all in the hopes of finding a vaccine. We will bring you that story. Stay with us.



TAPPER: School's out for summer. School's out forever?

In our national lead, the California State University System is canceling in-person classes for the fall, impacting nearly a half million students across 23 campuses in that state.

This is the first large American university to move classes almost exclusively online. Canada's McGill University and the Universities of Ottawa and Montreal announced the same. This comes as other schools in the U.S. insist they will find a way to bring students back to campus.

We're joined now by Jim Henderson, he's the president of the University of Louisiana system which includes the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans, and Grambling State university.

Thanks so much for joining us, Jim. I appreciate it.

Let me run through some of the things that I'm just wondering about. You're planning to resume in-person classes this fall across all nine of your campuses. That's about 92,000 students.

Are you going to test all of the students and faculty and employees?

JIM HENDERSON, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM: Jake, we've got to develop plans that meet the needs of university, communities at all nine of our institutions. Of course, testing will a component of that. Our board will meet at the end of this month to develop a framework all of our institutions will follow that puts the health and safety of students and faculty and communities and our staff as a paramount concern, while we continue the education mission of our students.

Testing, identification, and rapid response when an outbreak is detected are absolutely going to be part of that plan. And I think you'll see there are some -- some great similarities to what we're doing and what my friend Tim White is doing in California.

TAPPER: Will students be asked to wear masks?

HENDERSON: Yes. We're going to follow the guidance of our health officials, of gubernatorial regulations and other policy (INAUDIBLE). I imagine most will be wearing masks for some time in addition to having increased hygiene recommendations, increased sanitation procedures for our staff on campuses. I think you'll see social distancing become part of a new norm for us going forward.

And you're right. I think you'll see a lot of masks in classrooms.

TAPPER: It's hard to imagine social distancing in college to be honest. I mean, so much of the college experience is packed classrooms, packed parties, packed buildings. What about football games in the fall? Will you have fans in the bleachers?

HENDERSON: Listen, we're in Louisiana, and you know how much football is part of our culture, and so I hope that we have a return to collegiate athletics but only if it's safe. It can be done in a safe way, a way that protects the athletes, that protects the coaches, and all of the support staff that's necessary to have an athletic competition and certainly the spectators.

You know, we continue to learn more and more about this virus, how it's transmitted. You've done a great job on this show keeping us educated as far as that is concerned.


I think we'll learn more in the coming months, but the time is getting close where we have to make some defensive decisions, and, again, focus on health and safety of our communities.

TAPPER: What do you do if a student or more to the point really a professor, right, because people who are older, 50, 60, they're more vulnerable to this statistically. But let's say there's a student who has a pre-existing health condition or is just worried or a professor who says, look, I'm 70 years old, I'm worried, and they want a remote option or remote teaching option.

Will you provide it?

HENDERSON: You know, that's such a great question, because we talk about our protocols. We talk about things in the aggregate. We have to bring it down to the individual levels.

So, when you have a student that is -- of a more vulnerable population, how you're accommodating their learning needs for a faculty member, ensuring that we're accommodating their needs as well. And, you know, we got -- we use technology quite well within our system. In fact, our faculty did the herculean task of moving in about six days 92,000 students from traditional instruction to online instruction in the spring.

This -- for this fall, we're able to do some planning ahead of time. So, those faculty that do want to teach online and it's -- and it's conducive to their -- the discipline -- or the class that they're teaching, we're going to accommodate that and ensure that we're meeting their needs in addition to meeting the needs of students.

So, you got hybrid approaches that you can implement, utilizing technology to deliver instruction is something that we become expert it. It's just applying that now to a real world crisis situation.

TAPPER: So, Mr. Henderson, even if you do everything right, and I hope you do, I hope you achieve everything you need to, I hope the students are happy. But even if you do, the odds are someone's going to get sick. Someone's going to get novel coronavirus with a -- with a student body of 92,000. What do you do? What's the response of the university?

HENDERSON: Well, so you have to have outbreak protocols in place that you can manage positive cases, you can identify them, you can isolate them, you can do contract tracing, all of those plans have got to be in place before you can open your campus back up. Again, I told you time is running short. That's why by the end of May, all of our campuses will have their plans that they'll put in place in front of our board for approval within a framework of standard protocols across our state, and then we'll continue to monitor them within the guidelines put forth by science.

Science is the way that we beat this virus and it's the way we beat the next pandemic. We've got to follow the guidance of the experts.

TAPPER: And what do you do about the parties? What do you about fraternity parties or dorm parties? Do you just ban them and send in the campus police? What happens?

HENDERSON: I think there's going to be significant restrictions on those types of engagements. I remember my days in college. Social distancing would have been very difficult for us. We wouldn't have been able to envision it.


HENDERSON: We've had several months to socialize this. And I think we're informing students in a very important way. We're helping them understand the needs to engage in these safer behaviors, and we'll have certainly some restrictions that are in force. Enforcement is going to be key.

We've seen this with other organizations. Sometimes just giving the guidelines are not significant enough. You have to be able to enforce them. We'll have those mechanisms in place.

TAPPER: All right. Jim Henderson, thank you so much. Best of luck to you, your students, your faculty, and your employees. We appreciate it.

HENDERSON: Jake, thank you very much.

TAPPER: He was a top medical expert in the Trump administration. Now, he's planning to tell Congress that the administration was not ready for the pandemic, and much, much more. What else Dr. Bright plans to say? That's next.



TAPPER: Breaking news: The White House just elected a leader for its, quote, Warp Speed coronavirus vaccine effort. The announcement comes as an ousted Trump administration official, Dr. Rick Bright, issued a dire warning about how bad this pandemic could get this fall if the U.S. does not step up our preparation. CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us me now live from the White House with this breaking news.

And, Kaitlan, let's start with this breaking news. Who is this new vaccine czar?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Jake, this is for Operation Warp Speed, this Manhattan Project-style type effort that the administration has come up with to try to speed up a vaccine production that is so obviously needed for the coronavirus. And they've now tapped a director to helm that effort.

That's Moncef Slaoui. He's a prominent researcher, head of GSK for a while. So, that is obviously why he was picked for this role. They've been interviewing a few directors over the last few weeks.

But then they've also picked a retired four-star general, Gus Perna. He was head of the Army Material Command, basically, is the reason he was suited for this role, many people in the administration said.

And so, those two individuals are going to be the ones who are really heading up this effort. Though, we're also told that the HHS Secretary Alex Azar is also expected to be --